Long-time morning show hosts of BOB FM, Dave Illman and Julie Corlett, have been laid off in yet another example of apparent corporate cost-cutting. The Advocate has learned they were laid off as of today, Nov. 14.
In a written interview with the Advocate, Illman says it “was made very clear to us that there was no problem with our performance. Pure cost cutting. It happens a lot in radio these days.”
Illman has been at the station for 29.5 years, and on the morning show with Corlett for about 11 of those years. He says he believes Corlett has been at the station for about 20 years.
The long-time radio host says there was “no sense of that (layoff) coming at all.”
“We were gearing up for a busy Christmas season,” with all the usual remote locations and special initiatives like the toy drive.
There’s no doubt the news was a shock for both hosts.
“I’m of course disappointed,” he writes. “That’s been my thing for my whole adult life. But I know how the business works too. Mostly feel for my co-workers who will have to try to pick up the pieces and carry on.”
In a classy gesture, Illman says he and Corlett still plan to host the Lindsay Santa Claus Parade this Sunday “as Dave and Julie (not of BOB FM) because we had made the commitment to do that and don’t want to see them stuck without hosts for YourTV cable coverage.”
At this point, it’s not clear if Bell Media will abandon its weekday morning content and move to running syndicated shows. Right now it already runs syndicated content on Saturdays and Sundays, in addition to running a local show on Saturdays for the past four years, hosted by Denis Grignon.
The Advocate reached out to Grignon for comment about the loss of his weekday colleagues.
In a written response, Grignon (who has written for the Advocate occasionally) notes “Dave and Julie were beloved with listeners and so connected to the community.”
“I enjoyed their show. Very very big shoes to fill.”
Grignon says he owes his current gig to Illman, “who took a chance on me when I approached him about working there part-time.”
“I can’t tell you how much that meant to me. And still does.”
The Advocate asked Grignon if he was worried about the cancellation of his own show, given the fate of Illman and Corlett.
“It’s not exactly top of mind,” Grignon writes. “But hey, I’ve been around long enough to know nobody is indispensable in any workplace. And let’s face it. Media is an ever-changing landscape. Whatever happens, I’ll have totally enjoyed my run.”
The part-time radio personality says he “didn’t see it coming” with regard to the loss of BOB’s morning show hosts.
“And I’ve always considered myself reasonably media savvy. But I’m still processing it. And mostly, thinking about Dave and Julie, though I know they’ll both be fine. They’re both very smart, capable and creative people. And there’s no doubt their departure leaves a huge hole in the community,” Grignon writes.